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Marquis Hill at the Attucks Theatre

Mark Robbins By

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Marquis Hill doesn't usually get a chance to play straight ahead jazz standards. The Chicago born, Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz competition winner combines all genres of music, jazz, hip-hop, soul, Chicago house, R&B -to Hill "It all comes from the same tree. They simply blossomed from different branches." His latest album, Love Tape, combines his own compositions with spoken word by women sharing their thoughts on self love."Before you can love someone else, you must first love yourself."

On a recent Saturday night at Norfolk's Attucks Theatre (it was to become the last performance at the Attucks before the Coronavirus put at end to live music) Hill told the audience this show was an opportunity to get back to his roots. He told the sold out audience that his band, Blacktet, doesn't have the pleasure of playing these tunes so he was looking forward to a night of standards with John Toomey on piano, Jimmy Masters on bass and Brian Jones on drums. He did explore standards on an early album, The Way We Play, but even these were reimagined to fit Hill and his band's personal taste. On this night "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," "This Foolish Heart," "Watermelon Man," and "Cantaloupe Island" were just a few of the numbers played to a delighted audience. Hill may not have played the songs they performed that night in a long time but from the smile on his face he sure had a good time.
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